Everyone experiences stress to some degree. Stress can be a change that causes physical, emotional, or mental strain. Stress can cause weight gain and interfere with weight loss goals. It is impossible to alleviate all stress, but choosing how you respond to it can make a big difference to your mental and physical well-being.
Research shows that most people eat more palatable foods (unhealthy high-calorie foods) like fast food and sweets when they are stressed. Your body craves sugar and salt!
Ways to Reduce and Cope with Stress
- Ask for help.
Let your family and friends know about your weight loss goals and ask them for help! That help may look like being respectful when you say no to that slice of pie or becoming your walking buddy.
- Have fun!
Make time to do something you enjoy daily, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Think back to when you were a good, was there a hobby or activity you really loved? Read a book, get a massage, take a hot bath, have a cup of decaf herbal tea, or put on your favorite song.
- Just say “no.”
Learn how to say no to things you don’t really want or need to do. Set boundaries with people in your life who may cause more harm than good.
- Be Grateful
You can focus on the positive by keeping a daily gratitude list, laughing more, and spending time with friends and family. Simply write 3 things you are thankful for each day.
- Move Your Body
Stretch, do yoga, or simply bend down to touch your toes. Focus on selecting poses or stretches that make your body feel good.
- Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can make us feel jumpy and increase anxiety. Try to reduce your 2 cups to 1 and see how your mood changes.
Relaxation can be really hard, and making it a priority can be even harder. You can turn to apps on your phone to help with relaxing or guided meditations. Insight Timer and Smiling Mind are good options.
• Relax your muscles. Scrunch up your facial muscles. Hold for 5 seconds. Now release. Feel your facial muscles relax. Do the same with your jaw, shoulder, arm, chest, leg, and foot muscles in turn.
• Meditate. Focus on something simple that you find calming. It could be an image, sound, or simply your breath. Don’t worry if other thoughts get in the way. Just return your image or sound. • Breathe deeply. Relax your stomach muscles. Place one hand on your heart, one on your belly. Take a slow, deep inhale through your nose. Hold your breath. Take a slow, deep exhale through your mouth. Repeat 5-10 times.